Hospitality Industry: An Exponential Growth and Change

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The new year is with us now and we are anxiously watching the development of everything from moon landings to Artificial Intelligence; cancer and heart attacks occurring too often to people too young to die; human migration and displaced people at levels never seen before; the rise of far-right nationalism; changes in retail and transportation behavior; global warming and plastic pollution of the planet; genetic engineering and chips being placed in our bodies. The list of new developments goes on. Changes are happening at the speed of light and we anxiously try to find expert opinions and theories on how this will affect our lives, the working place and our future.

But the future is now here, as we are riding a “formula one race car without brakes” on the digitalization of the world. 5G will soon be beamed from the satellites in the sky, allowing doctors (or robots) to perform surgery from remote locations. To try and take control of this evolution or revolution is pointless. I believe that creativity is the order of this coming era. Innovation, creativity and design is paramount to survive this onslaught of new human behavior, lifestyle, business, manufacturing and agriculture especially in the food production landscape.

This year, Arkdesign Quarterly will be concentrating on creativity in the field of architecture, design and the environment. How do these changes in our world affect architecture? How it affects the design of things especially in our living spaces? How our changing environment especially the pollution of plastic waste, affects how we behave, or should behave? We now endeavor to feature interesting issues and topics on architecture, design and the environment, in every edition so that our readers do not have to wait for the edition of a particular topic.

The theme of this edition is Hospitality. The hospitality industry has quadrupled in the last decade with the creation of budget airlines and online travel bookings. “Now Everyone Can Fly” says the tagline of one of the fastest growing budget airlines in the world. Airbnb are entering the business of designing homes especially for tourists such that your home can be “Airbnb-able”. According to a report I read, China has “exported” approximately 120 million tourists in 2018 all around the world. One province that has seen this dramatic rise in Chinese tourist influx is Minahasa and its capital Manado, North Indonesia. It has seen the arrivals from China doubled from 2017 to 2018, thanks to direct budget flights from China to Manado, and the beautiful pristine environment albeit volcanically active, of Minahasa. Thus, the activity of tourism and the hospitality industry is promising. We see how architecture has evolved in catering for the new, young, experience-hungry and digitally-connected generation of tourists. Exterior and interior spaces are creatively designed to give that “Instagramable” experience to the visitors. Sadly, single use plastic continues to pollute these tourists' destinations as travelling and plastic seems to be inseparable from tourism.

Send us your opinion and experience. We are keen to receive feedback from our readers as we try to change AQ into a more interactive media. Our WhatsApp chat group, AQ Community, or AQC, is also a media for the exchange of information. Unfortunately, it is still only in the Indonesian language so you English speaking community may have to have a separate chat group. Call or email us to join this group or to receive a copy of AQ’s editions. From all of us at AQ, we wish you a creative, productive and prosperous year in 2019.

Paul Tanjung Tan, Architect and Environmentalist. Currently Principal of ARKdesign Architects and Managing Editor of ARKdesign Quarterly, AQ e-magazine.